Jeff Greenfield

  • Aired:  04/07/11
  •  | Views: 16,034

Jeff Greenfield writes alternate American histories to prove that the flip of a coin can produce powerful political results. (4:47)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A CBS

CORRESPONDENT WITH A NEW BOOK OF

ALTERNATE HISTORY.

I'LL ASK HIM WHICH DEMOCRAT HAS

A SHOT AT DEFEATING PRESIDENT

McCAIN.

PLEASE WELCOME JEFF GREENFIELD.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

THANKS FOR COMING BACK.

>> PLEASURE.

>> Stephen: LET'S GET RIGHT TO

THE BOOK.

"THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED"

STUNNING ALTERING HISTORIES OF

AMERICAN POLITICS, J.F.K.,çó

qREAGAN N.R.F.K., CARTER,

AN ALTERNATE AMERICAN HISTORY, I

READ YOUR BOOK AND I LOVED IT.

OKAY.

TELL ME WHAT I ENJOYED ABOUT IT.

WHAT IS AN ALTERNATE HISTORY OF

AMERICA?

>> IT TAKES EVENTS THAT ALMOST

HAPPENED, CAME REALLY CLOSE TO

HAPPENING, ANDS IS A OKAY IF WE

TURNED FATE THIS MUCH AND MAKE

THEM HAPPEN WATCH THE POLITICAL

CHANGES.

IN DECEMBER OF 1960 PRESIDENT

ELECT KENNEDY WAS SECONDS AWAY

FROM BEING KILLED BY A SUICIDE

BOMBER IN PALM BEACH, A MAN WITH

A CAR LOADED WITH DINE MIGHT.

>> Stephen: MUSLIM.

>> I DON'T THINK SO.

>> Stephen: MANY MY ALTERNATE

HISTORY THAT'S THE CASE.

GO AHEAD.çó

>> UNDERSTOOD.

JACQUELINE KENNEDY CAME TO THE

DOOR.

HE DIDN'T WANT TO KILL HER IN

FRONT OF HIS WIFE AND THAT'S THE

ONLY REASON HE LIVED TO BE

PRESIDENT.

>> Stephen: THERE'S ANOTHER

ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT NOBODY

KNOWS ABOUT.

>> THE SECRET SERVICE CHIEF SAID

WE WERE SECONDS AWAY FROM LOSING

PRESIDENT KENNEDY.

IF THAT HAPPENS, WHICH I THINK

HAPPENED IN THIS BOOK YOU PUT

LYNDON JON AT THE CUBAN --

JOHNSON AT THE CUBAN MISSILE

CRISIS WITH DIFFERENT FEARS,

ADVISORS AND SENSE OF

SCEPTICISM.

THE OUTCOME OF THE CUBAN MISSILE

CRISIS IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED.

>> Stephen: WHAT DO YOU THINK

WOULD HAVE HAPPENED?

HE WOULD HAVE SHOWED CASTRO HIS

APPENDIX SCAR.

[LAUGHTER]

WHY, AS A JOURNALIST, DO YOU --

WHY MAKE UP FICTIONAL AMERICAN

HISTORY?

GLENN BECK ALREADY DOES THAT,

YOU KNOW, EVERY NIGHT.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

YOU KNOW, I RECENTLY LEARNED

WOOD

WOODROW WILSON -S WEREWOLF.

>> WE LEARNED ABOUT GREAT

LEADER, GEOGRAPHY, NATURAL

RESOURCES, FATE ON A FLIP OF A

COIN CAN PRODUCE POWERFUL

RESULTS.

THE MAN I WORKED FOR, ROBERT

KENNEDY.

>> Stephen: YOU WERE A

SPEECHWRITER FOR KEN.

>> Dick: THERE WAS ONLY A LAST

MINUTE ACCIDENTAL DECISION THAT

SENT HIM UNPROTECTED INTO THE

KITCHEN.

HIS BROTHER-IN-LAW ALWAYS MADE

IT A POINT TO WALK IN FRONT OF

HIM NOT FOR SAFETY J TOWFT MAKE

IT EASIER.

HE HAPPENED TO BE IN A DIFFERENT

PLACE THAT NIGHT.

IF ROBERT KENNEDY LIVES, YOU

REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED WHEN

REAGAN SURVIVED THE

ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT.

MY FEELING IS THE 1968 CAMPAIGN

TAKES ON A WHOLE DIFFERENT

DIMENSION.

>> Stephen: YOU ARE PART AFTER

THIS PARTICULAR STORY.

I WORKED FOR ROBERT KENNEDY, IF

HE BECAME PRESIDENT, IN THIS

UNIVERSE, I HAVEN'T READ IT BUT

I'M GUESSING THAT PERHAPS THIS

SPEECHWRITER BACKS CHIEF OF

STAFF.

MARILYN MONROE IS IS A LIVE AND

YOU SPEND LATE EVENINGS TOGETHER

WHERE SHE SINGS HAPPY BIRTHDAY

MR. GREENFIELD.

DOES THAT HAPPEN TO YOU, JEFF?

>> I DON'T THINK I EXPLAINED TO

YOU THAT APPLAUSABILITY IS AN --

[ APPLAUSE

PLAUS ABILITY IS AN IMPORTANT

PART OF THE BOOK.

>> Stephen: ARE YOU CONCERNED

THAT SO FEW AMERICANS READ

HISTORY BOOKS THEY MIGHT MISTAKE

YOUR FAKE HISTORY FOR REAL

HISTORY?

[LAUGHTER]

>> I THINK THAT DESPITE WHAT YOU

SAY, AND THERE'S A LOT TO THAT,

THE POPULARITY OF BOOKS LIKE

BIOGRAPHYIES MEAN THAT THERE'S

AT LEAST AN AUDIENCE, A BOOK

READING AUDIENCE THAT DOES READ

HISTORY.

I HOPE WE'LL FIGURE OUT THAT

PERHAPS --

>> Stephen: IN MY ALTERNATIVE

AMERICA THIS THING IS NUMBER

ONE.

>> THIS COULD BE AN ALTERNATE

HISTORY I COULD FERVENTLY

EMBRACE, IT LET ME PUT IT THAT WAY.

>> Stephen: JEFF GREENFIELD,

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THE BOOK IS